The Fiat Freemont is the first Fiat being born out of the partnership with the Chrysler Group. It is being built in the Toluca plant (Mexico) where also the Fiat 500 rolls of the assembly line for the American market.
We drove it for two days on winding routes nationales and départementales inFrance, from Montpellierto Millau and back, making also a good trip on the Autoroutes.
We found it not only a (very) good looking, but also very comfortable and refined crossover, which indeed could very well make for all the cars you will (ever) need…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
With dimensions of 489 cm length, a with of 188 cm wide, and height of 172 cm, all on a biggest-in-class 289 cm wheelbase, the Fiat Freemont is quite an impressive, but very well proportioned crossover that offers plenty of interior space to complement its distinctive design.
Indeed the car looks very pleasing indeed. Compared with the Dodge Journey, the Freemont’s design language comes with decisive lines and an aggressive front end with a new bumper and grille. The rear end of the Freemont is also redesigned, including the adoption of a new bumper to go with the new LED taillights.
The car also feels and is very spacious inside. It features seven standard seats with a genuinely accessible third row of roomy seats. These seats can be folded down with no effort, disappearing completely below the floor and creating a regular load platform. Meanwhile, the second row of the Freemont has its own unique feature: the ability to be fitted with the innovative child booster system. See the photo above.
We also were impressed by the big central console, the well designed instruments, and the infotainment system with a large color touchscreen.
In the sunny French south, we really appreciated the excellent triple-zone automatic climate control system.
The Freemont will be available in two trim versions, the “Freemont” and the “Freemont Urban.”
Both equipments come standard with:
triple-zone automatic climate control system
ESPand Hill Holder
4.3” Touch Screen Radio
17” alloy wheels
Pressure sensors on all tyres
Child booster system
The Urban equipment level offers the following extras:
Hands free system with Bluetooth technology
Leather covered steering wheel and gearchange lever.
Parking sensor system
Electronically adjustable drivers’ seat with lumbar support.
The Freemont is available in Belgium with 2 versions of the direct injected 2.0 Multijet II engine, a 136 and 163 hp version.
The 136 horsepower version with 258 pound-feet of torque between 1,750 and 2,000 rpm, and with at least 220 lb-ft available from 1000 to 4,000 rpm rev range.
The 163-hp version has the same torque peaking from 1,750 to 2,500 rpm, but the torque remains higher in the upper rev ranges.
Both versions are front wheel drive, and coupled to an excellent 6 speed gearbox.
In 2012, a 4 wheel drive version will be available, in combination with a 163 hp Multijet engine, and as an icing on the cake, the Freemont will be available with the 3,6 litre Pentastar V6 engine, both coupled to an automatic transmission.
Driving the Freemont: a class-beating experience
Turning the key of the 136 hp Multijet II , we were truly surprised by its smoothness, more than adequate power and, above all, its vibrationless silence. The state-of-the art Fiat Diesel technology of this second generation Multijets certainly warrants smoothness (up to eight injections on the compression stroke, for example). Here is a smooth, willing and silent unit, which, at least when one drives it not too aggressively, treats the happy driver with such a level of refinement, that one hardly feels the urge to try a petrol-engined unit. No small feat, as your servant is very critical on the noise and vibrations of Diesel engines. What’s more, the performance is more than adequate, thanks to the excellent torque characteristics of the engine. We were not able to drive the stronger 163 hp version, we will do this later when making a full test drive of the car.
We also tested the more lavishly equipped "Urban" version with 19 inch alloy wheels, but with the same 136 hp Multijet engine.
We also found that the drive train is completely exempt from any vibrations, pulling at 1000 rpm slightly uphill when entering a small French village did indeed not produce any unpleasant drive train reactions. The 6 speed gearbox produced also very smooth gearchanges and had excellent ratios.
The Fiat engineers also perfected and re-engineered steering and suspension, giving the Freemont a precise steering “feel”, and a road behaviour to match, which pleasantly surprised us.
At the launch of the new Freemont, Fiat Group AutomobilesBelgiumoffers a special “launch package”, consisting of a leather interior and alloy 19 inch wheels. This package comes at an extra price of merely 1.200 Euros. ForBelgium, the Freemont comes with the 136 hp engine at 27.500 Euros of the Freemont equipment level, the Urban equipment level costs 1.500 Euros extra. The 163 hp engine can only be ordered with the Urban equipment, and costs 30.500 Euros.
Flying back to Brussels after two marvelous days at the wheel of the Fiat Freemont in the South of France...
Our conclusion? A class-beating, very stylish and roomy crossover, with much (mechanical) refinement and pleasant, “European” road behaviour.
Impressive indeed, and of course we look forward to put this Freemont to a further test…
Hans Knol ten Bensel